Halloween Horror Reviews

Here’s some stuff I watched this month in the spirit of Halloween. I know this first entry isnt really considered a Horror series, but it should be. It certainly contains a reasonable number of horrific acts, along with plenty of gore, and just because it has an over-arching social theme, it shouldn’t be ruled out of your holiday viewing. All the rest of these though…are pure Halloween carnage.

Squid Game

I am one of five people who has not watched beyond the first episode of Squid Game, not because I think its bad, but because I’m at a point right now where I’m not particularly interested in that type of television. I simply don’t have the emotional bandwidth for it right now. However, I did discuss the series with, of all people, my little sister, who from this point forward we will refer to as “The Millennial”! This is the mother of The Potato, and I don’t talk about her here a lot because even though we don’t live very far away from each other, we don’t get to see each other as often as we would like. We lead very different lives, but apparently she still has more than enough nerd in her character to watch the series.

She loves it. In fact, she raved about it to me, the family geek, who hasn’t been watching it!

As for that first episode, I realized I didn’t have the bandwidth for it when I started getting frustrated and angry with the lead character’s lack of moral character. Its not that he is a bad man. He is simply a man of very weak moral character, who loves people, and means well, but keeps getting broadsided by his own worst character traits. Its frustrating watching him make the same mistakes over and over again. He simply doesn’t learn, but I suspect the series is about his growth as a person, so we have to start him off at his lowest point.

The basic gist of the show is that a bunch of people desperate for a million dollar cash bonus willingly subject themselves to a series of fatal games on a secluded island. The highlight game, and the one which sets the standard for all the following games is in the first episode, and called Red Light, Green Light, in which a giant doll is the Master. If she catches anyone moving after she says Red Light, the offender is executed via headshot. I was pretty good at this game when I was a kid, so I think I could probably master this one, but my sister says the other games are much more difficult, and that the players also have to deal with internal drama, and various alliances.

I have no intention of finishing the series, but if you liked stuff like The Hunger Games and The Scorch Trials or whatever, you probably should give this one a try. Yes, its in Korean, and there are subtitles, but that doesn’t matter for a good show. Just be aware that wanting to slap the lead character very, very, hard is not an option for the viewer.

V/H/S 94:

VHS 94 is one of a series of found footage Horror anthology movies that I’ve enjoyed in the past. This one gets mixed feelings from me. Some of the stories I liked, but a couple of others were not particularly satisfying.

Unlike some people I’m not especially tired of the found footage trend. I like it okay. Some of it is good and some not so much, but one of the reasons I don’t bitch and whine against trends in movies is because I don’t watch everything in a given genre, and some things ain’t got nothing to do with me. I don not and never will understand people who loudly hate on a particular method or genre of film, and always call for the elimination of them, especially when its failry harmless. Yeah I’m tired of movies about Black pain and trauma, and wish they would make other things but I’m not calling for the elimination of movies like 12 Years A Slave. We need those Black pain movies. They’re cathartic, and someone is watching them. I just wish that movies rooted in such trauma weren’t the only ones getting made, is all. its okay to make (and watch) movies that are fun, and funny. We need those too.

Anyway, this movie consists of four stories, surrounded by a framework of a SWAT team who come across a bunch of videos playing in a house, and this is loosely tied to a couple of the other stories in the film. I liked the first story which was short, to the point, gory, and monstrous, about reporter who stumbles across a group of Rat God worshiping sewer people, while chasing a story. The story makes its point, and keeps it moving. There,s bllod, gore, mutants, cults, and was kinda fun, and disgusting.

I wanted to like the second story, but the murky footage, and sometimes unintelligible dialogue made things hard to understand. I eventually got the point of it ,but it was frustrating to watch, as much of it takes place at night, in the dark, during a thunderstorm. A young woman is basically babysitting a corpse in a funeral home, when the corpse suddenly comes to life and starts chasing her around the room. I initially thought this was a zombie story, but it turns out to be something a little bit different. Its not bad, but some of it is unclear, which is not a good thing for such a short story.

The third story was my least favorite, because it mostly involved people being chased through rooms by robot/human hybrids created by a mad scientist. I’m not a fan of mad scientist stories in general because I find them frustrating. Mom and I are always having medical issues that require we be poked and prodded by various doctors, so movies about medical experimentation are not fun to watch.

The Fourth story is a little more interesting because…vampire! A bumbling group of American militia members have captured a vampire and intend to use its blood (which has explosive properties) to commit various acts of terror. Since the vampire didn’t actually consent to any of this things become a helluva lot more difficult for them when it gets loose and starts hunting each of them down. I was prepared not to like this one, but the militia men are so stupid, and so deserving of what’s coming to them, that the gory body horror elements were kind of fun.

The surrounding story was kind of disappointing because I expected a little bit more than what I got, which were just human beings being monstrous to one another.

Overall, i kind of enjoy the franchise, and I’m not tired of it yet, even though I dint care very much for the last two of this five movie series. Of all of them the first and second were the best, and maybe I’ll talk about them at some later date, but if you don’t mind watching more found footage movies, check this one out on Amazon Prime.

Halloween Kills

I know there are some people who were disappointed in this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. There was a lot I liked about this, and a few things I found deeply frustrating, which I’ll get to in a moment. I found the movie deeply entertaining. Unlike some people, I don’t watch these types of movies for the killing. I don’t count how many people die, or marvel at the various ways in which they died, or any nonsense like that. I watch movies like this for the characters, the mood/atmosphere, and any deeper themes which may be present in the narrative, and there is a theme here.

If the last version, released in 2018, was about surviving and dealing with trauma via Laurie Strode, than this movie’s primary theme was about Regret. We start the movie exactly where we left off the last one. Sheriff Hawkins, who was stabbed by Michael Myers’ doctor, was left to bleed out in a field, and is stumbled upon by Allison’s boyfriend, with whom she had broken up, in the last film. We catch him in the middle of leaving a message to his best friend about the breakup, not knowing that the best friend he’s calling was killed by Michael just a short time ago.

Right away, we re introduced to an element of pathos that will follow us throughout the rest of the film. A sequence of just missed chances, or people trying to do the right thing and failing horribly. He finds the Sheriff’s body and from there we go into a flashback of the Sheriff as a young officer, and his first encounter with Michael, when he had the chance to let Michael die, but stopped Dr. Loomis (Michael’s first doctor) from shooting him, preferring to capture Michael alive. Hawkins expresses open regret at having allowed that to happen.

As the movie moves forward, we meet many different characters, several of whom we’ve met before, like the little girl and boy from the very first movie, whom Laurie spent trying to protect from Michael. They’re all grown up and we see them and the townsfolk, many of them are the friends, and family, and of people who were killed in the 1978 film. They are at a Halloween party celebrating Laurie’s long ago heroism, when the news reaches them that not only is Michael free, he has been killing people in Haddonville all night. The way the movie plays out, every single character we meet has a moment where they regret past decisions they made, or rethink some choices they wished they could take back, from the charming gay couple who bought Michael’s old house, to Laurie’s daughter who regrets never believing her mother’s declarations about Michael, to the mob of townsfolk who corner and attack Michael in the street.

What was disappointing for me was the character’s doing the usual stupid things people do in slasher movies. People have guns but often never get a chance to fire them, or sometimes they have the opportunity to run away from Michael, or leave the vicinity (preferring to hunt for him through dark rooms instead), but don’t. A lot of the kids in this movie simply cannot act. Of curse its frustrating for me to watch this because I know that Michael is very probably not human at all, and will always win, and that all the characters are operating as if they are dealing with a regular human being. Another frustrating thing is there’s not much of Laurie in this movie. Since she was stabbed by Michael in the previous movie, she sits most of this one out, and the slack gets taken up by the townsfolk, Laurie’s daughter, Karen, and her granddaughter, Allison, now dealing with fresh trauma of her own. This movie is a loose remake of the 1981 Halloween 2, which takes place mostly in the same hospital, as well.

Now, even though I don’t count the deaths, or prioritize the deaths of the character’s, that doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to them. The deaths in this movie are spectacularly gruesome even for Halloween. There is a lot of action in this film.There is a lot of blood and gore, there’s a lot of death, some of which feels, and I know this may sound weird, considering this is a slasher film, oddly gratuitous, starting with the deaths of the friefighters who were there to douse the fire Laurie started to kill Michael. But then as I’ve mentioned before, as I’ve gotten older, and become more aware of the ways my body can become broken, (all those missed accidents and deaths start to take a toll, I think), I’ve also become a lot more squeamish. Some people love the gore, and I used to when I was a teenager, but not anymore.

My mom watched this one with me, and I don’t think she was especially impressed. She said, and I quote, “It was stupid!” Which is the description of any movie she finds displeasing, and I wasn’t able to find the time to question her on why she thought this. I’m not inclined to give her review too much deep analysis as she was half asleep during some of it, the constant flashback kept getting on her nerves, and the idiotic behavior of the characters bothered her more than it bothered me. But as I said it took me a minute to figure out that the characters in the film don’t know that Michael isnt a human being. He gets slashed, stabbed, pitchforked, and shot multiple times, and keeps getting back up, as if nothing had happened. The characters know there’s something wrong but they don’t know what and continue to believe they can easily defeat him, and of course there are several characters who are simply goofy, and they end up taking each other and themselves out, so there’s that.

That said, this movie was highly entertaining, and just deep enough. I suspect I’ll get my wish, and see more of Laurie in the third and final film, Halloween Ends. I think the last movie should be a little more like Halloween H2O, in that it should be a cat and mouse game between Michael and Laurie, because really, that’s what these movies have been about since day one. If you go back to the first movie, Laurie is asked by one of her teacher’s about the nature of evil, and the movie is pitting the innocence of this one girl (now a woman) against the personification of death.

Chucky (TV Series)

This was the first episode of the Chucky series, which I saw on YouTube for free. I don’t know how much longer this free episode will be available, but if you’re curious, than check it out. I didn’t much care for it, even though I was sort of looking forward to watching this because I enjoyed the first film of what became a massive franchise of over two hundred movies (or at least that’s what it felt like). My initial thought was who the f*** thought this would be a good idea for a TV series. It’s not a bad series, its just not to my particular tastes because it contains unlikable teenagers, awful parents, dodgy acting, and a couple of moments where I just didn’t want to deal with the emotions of what was happening onscreen. To be fair, most of the things I catch a glimpse of, or try out, are not necessarily bad (although yeah, sometimes they’re pretty bad), and this show is very pretty to look at.

There are of course the usual tropes of the supernatural avenger narrative. A much put upon teenager, who is beset by nasty and bullying authority figures, and peers, who finds solace in his Chucky doll, who comes to life and begins taking out anyone with whom he has a beef ,and I’m too tired to care very much about this type of plot, especially when most of the other characters in the series aren’t likable, and I’m also kind of tired of the idea that unlikable people must be killed. I’m in the mood for a plot where unlikable people try to solve their grievances by talking them out, I guess.

One thought on “Halloween Horror Reviews

  1. I have two other friends who had to stop halfway through the first episode of “Squid Game”. My wife and I watched the entire series in a single day – we LOVED it. It’s fascinating to see what resonates…we have “Halloween Kills” on Peacock here at home and will give it a shot, but since I hated the last one, I”m glad I’m not paying for it!

    Liked by 2 people

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